Fireman John Thompson


George Wagner

Does anyone have any information on Fireman JOHN WILLIAM THOMPSON I have a post card I believe is signed by him it has a postal stamp on it dated 1 May 1912 from New York to PA if anyone has any information on this person or knows where I can find out more info on Him Please email me at

Thanks George

Helen Shurven

My Grandmother maintained that an uncle of hers (on her mothers side) was on the Titanic. She thought his name was Charlie Thompson. However, I could not find such a name on your lists. I did however find John William Thompson. My grannies mother was Jane Elizabeth Thompson, and my granny thought it was one of Jane's brothers that was on the Titanic. Jane was 21 in 1887 (when she was married). That would mean she was born around 1866. I note that John William Thompson was born in 1871 so they could have been siblings. In addition, Janes father was William Thompson and he was an engine fitter. If John William was Jane's brother, then he could have been named after his father and followed in a similar occupation. The family was from that Liverpool/Yorkshire/Leeds area. I would be interested on your thoughts on this information.

ian Hough

I am in the process of researching John William Thompson - I have a lot of information about the 'Thompsons' which live/lived in Liverpool from 1864 - unfortunately so far the only good link I have is that which is already posted on the 'Titanica website'
ie. He was born in Liverpool on 6 April 1871 - he gave his address as 26 Howe Street Liverpool - His parents were probably called Robert and Ann.

I will be happy to share any information about the Thompson families that I have with you.

I am about to visit Liverpool agin just after Xmas for a couple of days to do some more extensive research there.

It would help me if you could let me have as much information as possible about your Grt Grannie (Jane Elisabeth), your Grannie, Mother and yourself (ie births, deaths, marriages & addresses)

ian Hough

Could anyone tell me where the following information for the John Thompson Bio came from

Mr John William Thompson, 42, was born in Liverpool on 6 April 1871 (1).
Also the notes 1. It is likely that his parents were Robert Thompson (dock labourer) and his wife Ann.

I have been in touch with Messiuers Ticehurst, Wormstedt and Dohany (the three main contributors) who all claim it was not them.

According to Chris Dohany
"I do know that the full name came from Seaman Registration records held at the Public Records Office in Kew, the birthdate for that man is recorded as 1 October 1876 (with no birthplace noted)".

According to my records there were over 77 John Thompsons born during 1871 in the United Kingdom which would have shown up on the 1881 census.

It seems strange that they have singled out the one mentioned on the ET Bio page.

If anyone could clear up this confusion or has any other info on Mr Thompson I would love to hear from them

Dear Ian, I don't know from where the information on Mr Thompson came, but I do know that, at the Public Record Office, they keep an archive of all the sailors in the Merchant fleet. I think the records start 1913, and quite a few of the surviving crewmen from the Titanic are to be found in this archive. I have seen the entries for some individual crewmen myself, so I have a feeling the information about Mr Thompson comes from this archive. Just a theory, however.

Best regards,


ian Hough


- But the real question I'm trying to get to is - who is the person who supplied the info for the Bio? - so I can find out where it came from and how accurate the info is.

It does't have to be posted on the board a private E-mail will suffice as I'm just trying to ascertain how credible the info is.


Tom Pappas

If the men who started fires were called "firemen", what did they call the men who extinguished fires?

(Shades of Fahrenheit 451!)

ian Hough


Combustion restraint, control extinguishers?

Fire putter outters?

Men with big hoses?

Idle firemen?

Hugh, pugh, barny mcgrew, cuthbert, dibble and grubb.

I'll second Bill W's suggestion re Phil Hind. His contributions to ET are often overlooked. Have you contacted him?

ps waterboys? water(boat)men?
Phil IS 'the ghost writer'! As far as I know, all uncredited things are by him. And last I looked, there are still bios with no credits.

Phil has always been very good on giving credit where credit is due - except to himself.

David Haisman

Hi there,

I had a good chuckle on your answers to Tom's question on who puts the fires out.
In all seriousness,the men responsible were the Able Seamen who carried out fire drill weekly along with boat drill. Royal Mail lines were one of the best with a ''fire'' reported each week in a different part of the ship and the fire party timed on their response along with smoke helmets etc. checked on arrival. The Able seamen were changed each week to ensure everyone had a good knowledge of how to go about things.

The engine room also had their own fire party's with a mixture of all ratings.
All the best,